Day 254 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Will there even be a Battle for Kherson

Ukraine | November 4, 2022, Friday // 11:39|  views

Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

Zelensky will not participate in the G20 together with Putin

The Ukrainian president ruled out participation in the upcoming G-20 summit in Indonesia, if his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is also there. According to him, this is his personal position and the position of Ukraine, after receiving a two-time invitation from Indonesian President Joko Widodo. "Let's see, a few days left."

Ukraine is not part of the G20 group, but because of the conflict, host Indonesia accepted a proposal to extend such an invitation. Zelensky has not left Ukraine since the beginning of the war and participates in international forums only via video link.

The idea of ​​the organizers was that it is possible to have negotiations on the end of the war at the summit. However, Kyiv refuses to negotiate with the current leadership in Moscow while Putin is president because of the annexation of Ukrainian territories announced just over a month ago.

Russia has withdrawn most officers from Kherson, it is unclear if there will be a fight

Russia has withdrawn most of its officers from occupied Kherson and is strengthening its defensive positions on the other side of the Dnieper. This is what representatives of Western countries say, quoted by the Russian edition of the BBC.

The interlocutors of the media associate this with the creation of more profitable defense lines in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine before the onset of winter.

Yesterday, the second-in-command in the Russian occupation authority, Kiril Stremousov, said that "most likely" Russian forces will leave the right bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson region; this is also the coast on which Kherson is situated.

The information from the western sources is that the arrival of newly mobilized people in the city actually aims to provide cover for the retreat of the Russian forces. According to one of the interlocutors, most of the military command left "demoralized and leadershipless" units when they left. It seems that Russia no longer sees the point in fighting for Kherson, he concludes.

If this is true, the politically charged occupation of Kherson may soon end, but local residents are deeply disturbed and fear that the Russian army may try to destroy the city, the media continued.

Will there even be a battle for Kherson?

Ukraine is advancing on Kherson as part of a southern counter-offensive announced earlier this summer and hopes to recapture the city - from which most of the civilians have been evacuated - in December.

However, whether this battle will take place at all is unknown, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its latest report.

According to them, the Russians continue to bring units to the left bank of the Dnieper, but whether they intend to leave Kherson without a fight or not is still unknown.

On the one hand, such information continues to arrive (including the one cited by Stremousov); on the other hand, this shift of occupying power may mean preparing the conditions for fighting in the city.

The paratroopers and marines remain on the right bank, still transferring new units there and building fortifications northwest of Kherson, the ISW continues.

And in the summary, it is confirmed that newly mobilized are being transferred to the right bank. The paratroopers and marines, however, will be clearer indicators of Russia's intentions, analysts believe.

Zelensky accused the Kremlin of energy terrorism after attacks left 4.5 million people without power

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the Kremlin of resorting to "energy terrorism" as Russian troops make little progress on the battlefield.

Zelensky reported that 4.5 million people were left without power after Russian attacks on the power grid. The National Electric Company of Ukraine has prepared a current regime for today in the Kyiv region, in Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhia, Sumshchyna and several other settlements.

Meanwhile, a Russian-appointed official in southern Ukraine said Moscow was likely to withdraw its troops from the west bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson and also called on civilians to leave the area, possibly signaling a retreat.

After suffering a series of battlefield defeats, Russia has stepped up missile and drone attacks in recent weeks against electrical infrastructure in cities far from the front lines. As a result, the Ukrainian government was forced to call on the population to try to use energy sparingly.

In the last month alone, a third of the country's power plants have been destroyed, said President Volodymyr Zelensky. About 4.5 million Ukrainians were temporarily without electricity yesterday as a result of the Russian campaign against the Ukrainian energy system, Zelensky said in his evening video address. He specified that the capital city of Kyiv and 10 other regions were affected, including Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia, and added:

"The very fact that Russia resorted to terror against energy shows the weakness of the enemy. They cannot defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, so they are trying to break our people in this way - to humiliate Ukrainians, to strike at the spirit of our people, at his endurance. I believe Russia will not succeed."

The strikes come amid reports by officials that Russian troops are likely to withdraw from the key southern city of Kherson. According to Western representatives, most Russian commanders have already left the city.

Instead of trying to keep control of it, Russian troops are building up their defensive positions across the Dnieper River to establish better defensive lines in southern and eastern Ukraine before winter arrives.

At the same time, the occupying authorities have been evacuating thousands of civilians from the area for several weeks. Kyiv condemned the deportations of Ukrainian citizens, saying they "grossly violate international law".

Stoltenberg criticized Iran for supplying Russia with drones

Iran's plans to supply Russia with weapons, including drones and ballistic missiles, in the war against Ukraine are "unacceptable", said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Kyiv and its Western allies accuse Iran of supplying drones to Russia.

"We see that Iran is offering drones and is considering supplying ballistic missiles to Russia. This is unacceptable. No country should support Moscow in this illegal war," Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Istanbul.

Kyiv said about 400 Iranian drones had already been used against Ukraine's civilian population, and Moscow had ordered about 2,000. Tehran denied the allegation.

Stoltenberg added that Russian President Vladimir Putin is failing in Ukraine, but "is responding with more brutality." "In recent weeks, we have seen dozens of drone and missile strikes in Ukraine. Including on critical infrastructure," he added. Russia is "cruelly and deliberately depriving Ukrainian civilians of heating, water and electricity at the beginning of winter," Stoltenberg said.

Greece does not recognize Russia's “new regions

Greece will never recognize the entry of new regions into Russia, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said at a press conference in Kyiv after talks with Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sakellaropoulou's statements were released by her press office. She noted that her presence on Thursday in Kyiv testifies to Greece's unreserved support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

"I assure you that we will continue to do so for as long as necessary. Our position is clear and unwavering: changing internationally recognized borders through the use of military force and unilateral acts of secession is unacceptable," Sakellaropoulou said.

She said that "despite the significant negative impact on the economy, Greece has fully supported and implemented all the sanctions packages imposed by the European Union against Russia." "We unconditionally supported the decision of the Council of Europe to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate country for the EU, we sent humanitarian aid, as well as defense equipment. We have the port of Alexandroupolis, which is a transportation hub for allies who want to provide aid to Ukraine. And we immediately responded to the needs of tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who sought refuge in our country," Sakellaropoulou said.

Russia summons British envoy over "terrorist attacks" on Black Sea fleet

British Ambassador to Russia, Deborah Bronnert was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on November 3 to lodge a protest over the UK's involvement in a "terrorist attack" against the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

"A strong protest in connection with the British military specialists' active participation in training and providing supplies to the units of the Ukrainian special operations forces, including with the goal of conducting acts of sabotage at sea, were expressed to the Ambassador. Concrete facts of that kind of activities by London were provided," read the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. The demarche emphasized that such confrontational actions by the British pose the threat of an escalation and can lead to unpredictable and dangerous consequences.

"Such confrontational actions by the British pose the threat of an escalation and can lead to unpredictable and dangerous consequences," tweeted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

It was pointed out that such hostile provocations were unacceptable and a demand was put forward to stop them immediately.

Meanwhile, Russia warned that should these acts of aggression that are fraught with direct implications in the conflict continue, the responsibility for harmful consequences and the mounting tensions in relations between the two countries will lie entirely with the British side.

"It was noted, in particular, that an agreement was reached in September 2020 between London and Kyiv to expand the British instructors' training program for Ukrainian military divers. In late 2020, the parties began implementing the Naval Training Initiative for the Ukrainian Navy, which included training courses for combat swimmers," added the release.

British-Ukrainian naval cooperation is further reinforced under the Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine program. This work is carried out at a separate Ataman Golovaty Spec Ops Centre "South" of the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces (Military Unit A3199, former 73rd Marine Special Operations Centre) in the city of Ochakov, Mykolaivregion, and includes the training of underwater spec ops operatives for conducting operations in the Black Sea and Azov Sea.

"A military diving school in Odesa (which is part of the Ukrainian Navy's 198th training center, Military Unit A3163, Mykolaiv), is training special operations divers, including in deep-sea subversive skills, among others," added the release.

With the participation of British specialists, the Ukrainian Navy carried out dives and a training detonation of a target on the coast and in the Black Sea near the cities of Odesa, Mykolaiv and Ochakov, alleged Russian MoFA.

In August-September, on Pervomaisky Island in the Dnieper estuary 3 km south of Ochakov, British military instructors (about 15 men) taught servicemen from the Armed Forces of Ukraine to operate unmanned underwater vehicles designed to destroy ships.

"In August-September, the British trained the crews of minesweepers that were transferred to Ukraine. We have information that the British Navy has also transferred a certain number of UAVs to Ukraine," added the release.

Russia on Saturday accused UK of "involvement" in the naval drone attack Black and Baltic seas and said that it intends to draw the international community's attention towards Sevastopol incident.

"The Russian Side intends to draw the international community's attention, including at the United Nations Security Council, to a series of terrorist attacks committed against the Russian Federation in the Black and Baltic seas, highlighting the UK's involvement," said the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

"On Saturday at 4.20 am, Kyiv carried out a terrorist attack against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian ships that were on the outer and inner roadsteads of the Sevastopol base. The attack involved nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous maritime drones," said the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Students from Ufa were accused of anti-war sabotage. Medvedev wants them shot

Four residents of the Russian city of Ufa are on trial for anti-war sabotage, the Russian version of "Free Europe" reported. They can receive between 12 and 20 year sentences.

According to investigators, 18-year-olds Farukhyon Zokirov, Mustafa Shahbazov and Emin Sadigov, as well as the latter's 17-year-old brother, tried at least five times to damage electrical equipment on a railway line and criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The case of the Ufa students was commented on by the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. On his Telegram channel, he called them "freaks" and demanded that they be shot.

Medvedev proposed "not to get involved" with such "thugs" - "foreign and local" and to remove the moratorium on the death penalty.

"Within the framework of the current Constitution, the moratorium on the death penalty can be overcome, if necessary, by changing the legal positions of the Constitutional Court of Russia," believes the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.

This is not the first time Medvedev has spoken about bringing back the death penalty.

In March, commenting, among other things, on the suspension of Russia's membership in the Council of Europe and PACE, Medvedev called the measure a "savage injustice." At the same time, he added that the decision gives Moscow the opportunity to restore the death penalty to prevent particularly serious crimes in the country.

Constitutional Court President Valery Zorkin said in the summer that a new constitution would be needed to lift the moratorium on executions. At the same time, according to him, rejecting the moratorium "would send a very bad signal to society."

In May 1996, a moratorium on the application of the death penalty came into force in Russia.

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Tags: Zelensky, Kherson, Ukraine, Russia


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